Over the past several decades, computers have shaped every aspect of academic life—across the nation and at CUNY’s 23 colleges and institutions. But within the next few months, the implementation of a cutting-edge university-wide computer platform will bring a new wave of change, with significant benefits for students, faculty and staff.
The system is called CUNYFirst (which stands for Fully Integrated Resources and Services Tool) and is similar to integrated management systems now in place at some 600 colleges nationwide.
“When CUNYfirst is up and running, all of our processes, policies, data and procedures, from registering for classes to paying our bills, will exist on a common platform,” says Howard Entin, BMCC’s Director of Financial Aid.
“Everyone in the university community—across CUNY and here at BMCC—will benefit from CUNYfirst,” says Entin. “It will streamline and standardize everything we do and provide much more functionality, flexibility and interconnectedness than ever before.”
CUNYfirst has already been phased in over time, beginning with base processes for business, human resources, and academic structure. For now, however, the College will still work in the existing environment for faculty, staff, and students.
“With the new system, registration will take place in a Web-based environment similar to other Web-based services students encounter today," says Entin.
"They’ll be able to shop for courses online, create a shopping list, and then change it as they wish.” Students will also have quicker and wider access to their academic records, work history, financial aid information and future course requirements.
“Faculty will be phased-in next and will use the new platform to do their grading," says Entin. “Each faculty member will have their own self-service space on the platform, where they can not only review their own academic programs but use them far more effectively—from the office, their home computer or a remote location.They''ll communicate more easily with students and their advisees—both individually and in groups—and have much more functionality in planning curricula and developing teaching materials.”
CUNYfirst applications will replace an amalgam of systems “that have been developed over many years and patched together to meet needs as they arose,” says Entin.
“These legacy systems have served us well, but have significant limitations. Very few of them interact with other. CUNYfirst will take things to a whole new level.”
Step one: Claim your CUNYfirst account
To prepare for CUNYfirst, all members of the BMCC community will need to log onto the system and claim their CUNYfirst account at https:/home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu.
“At that time, you’ll be asked to create a password and answer five security questions,” says Entin. “We’ll also be offering training, based on each user’s specific role and needs.”
Admittedly, it will take time for faculty, administrators and students to acclimate to CUNYfirst. But it will be worth the effort, Entin says.
“We’ll have to grow into CUNYfirst,” he says. “Think of it like breaking in a pair of new shoes. They may pinch a bit at first, but you quickly get very comfortable in them and then you wonder how you ever got along without them. That’s how we see this situation evolving.”